Monday, April 4, 2016

reviews - TWELFTH NIGHT - Southwest Shakespeare Company

Andy Cahoon, Emily Mohney, Jon L. Peacock, and Allison Sell
photo: Patrick Walsh
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through April 9th.

 " William Shakespeare’s witty comedy that focuses on lost twins and a humorous love triangle, Twelfth Night, receives a solid production from Southwest Shakespeare Company. Full of charming characters, an abundance of mistaken identity, and several of Shakespeare’s most memorable lines, including “If music be the food of love, play on,” SSC's production has a wonderful cast, including an effervescent Allison Sell as Viola and a deliciously superb Emily Mohney as Olivia....Sell is exceptional in delivering a wide range of emotions as she pivots between displaying the pain of her unreturned love for Orsino and her disdain over the unwanted advances of Olivia...Mohney is just as good as Olivia. ...These are two characters who are passionate women and Sell and Mohney excel in their portrayals. The comical quartet are also quite good, though they border on being somewhat broad a few times which almost tips the comic scale of the show off its axis into a territory too much at odds with the rest of the play. ...The quartet are appropriately mischievous, with (David) Dickinson a simply dandy “fop,” while (Clay) Sanderson is the perfect comic foil as the overbearing and bossy Malvolio. ...Director David Vining does well in achieving upbeat comical and layered serious performances .. moved the time period to the late 19th-century and changed the setting from the coast of the Adriatic Sea to a small Greek island...While the sunny, aquamarine setting adds brightness to the humorous moments, the updated time and location doesn’t really add, or detract, much from the play. (Jason) Steffen adds a couple of fun songs throughout though they don’t exactly fit into the Greek setting or time period....Southwest Shakespeare Company’s production may not add much to the play with their updated Greek setting, but with an exceptional cast it still amounts to a sunny, spirited and robust romantic comedy romp."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...Transporting the popular comedy to a Mediterranean island in the 1870s...doesn’t spark much in the way of surprising twists or distracting cognitive dissonance. Instead, we get a comfort-food production that features solid performances by company regulars including Allison Sell (in the “trouser role” of Viola/Cesario) and Beau Heckman (as the booze-swilling rapscallion Toby Belch). ... this “Twelfth Night” is familiar fare in Greek drag."  - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

"One of the great things ~ and there's a goodly number ~ about Southwest Shakespeare Company is its fidelity to quality, innovative, and accessible interpretations of the Bard's work....TWELFTH NIGHT turns the spotlight 180 degrees ...And what a thoroughly delightful "confusion" director David Vining has cleverly concocted, aided and abetted by a prodigious cast, Kimb Williamson's idyllic Aegean blue set, and Adriana Diaz's classic and classy tunics and gowns....Allison Sell has proven, time after time, what an extraordinary actress she is and how skillfully she can embrace and enliven Shakespeare's characters. She has done it again in a marvelous turn as Viola/Cesario. ...As the mix of loves triangulate, there's a parallel play of mischief afoot via the raucous and riotous antics of Olivia's uncle, Sir Toby Belch (Beau Heckman), his associate Sir Andrew Aguecheek (David Dickinson), the Fool (Jason Steffen), and Olivia's lady-in-waiting, Maria (Jamie Bauer), who scheme to bring Olivia's ever-stern steward, Malvolio (Clay Sanderson) down a notch or two. Each of this foursome play their parts to the hilt with stellar comic effect, but Dickinson will leave you in stitches as he stumbles and flusters through vain efforts to prove his manhood. Likewise, Sanderson is outstanding as he takes the bait on Belch's cruel plot. As the play nears its denouement...all but one loose thread are neatly tied together, the one thing that does not enjoy instant relief is the pain in one's chest from non-stop laughter. This is a skillfully and smartly constructed and masterfully played production with scene pictures and performances that will linger well after the lights dim. TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL (and you will want to see it!) runs through April 9th "  -Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

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